In 1955 he invented the Flash-Matic which pointed a beam of light at photo cells on each corner of the TV, turning it off and on and changing the channels.  

His invention was considered a luxury in the days before hundreds of cable television channels, but has turned into a necessity for any Television addict.

Born in Chicago 1915, Polley began engineering at the age of 20. He worked at Zenith for 47 years. Over his career he earned 18 US patents.

Before Polley’s invention, Zenith’s first remote was connected to the television by a wire cord, limiting TV surfers.

However his invention had a few quarks. Other lights could interfere with its operation, because it used light to control the television, making it temperamental.

It was followed by sonic-controlled remotes and then infrared and radio frequency models.

Although Polley later became the owner of a flat-screen TV and model remote, he still proudly kept his original control.

In 1997 Polley was honoured with an Emmy for his work, another with Zenith engineer, Robert Adler.

Photo by Getty

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